Established relationships with national and international centres
continue. This year the V&A and Museums Sheffield renewed their
ten-year partnership for a further five years under a memorandum
of understanding. Two of the V&A's most successful exhibitions toured
to Sheffield in 2009: 'Treasures from the V&A 400-1600 AD' and the
contemporary show 'Out of the Ordinary: Spectacular Craft', which attracted
the highest number of visitors ever for a contemporary art exhibition at
the Millennium Gallery.
Many relationships with organisations throughout England and Wales
develop through the Purchase Grant Fund (PGF) administered by the V&A.
Despite a 10% budget cut, the PGF enabled 96 organisations to make 161
acquisitions in 2009/10. V&A curators shared their expertise, advising on
120 cases, including a textile design by Ben Nicholson (1933) and a Hanukah
Exciting new relationships have evolved with Dundee and Blackpool,
fulfilling the V&A's aims to share its collections and knowledge with
new audiences, and boost local regeneration.
Right: Example of a piece of work from the 'Design for Life' project, V&A.
V&A at Dundee
On 11 January 2010 an international architectural competition was
announced for a major new 21st-century Scottish design centre, the V&A at
Dundee, planned to open in 2014. The new centre is being delivered by a
partnership between the V&A, the University of Dundee, the University of
Abertay Dundee, Dundee City Council and Scottish Enterprise. It will bring
V&A exhibitions and programmes to Dundee with the aim of fostering the
growth of a hub for creative design in the city.
V&A at Blackpool
The V&A is working with Blackpool Council to open an exhibition centre in
2013. Blackpool remains Britain's most popular tourist destination and this
venue will host shows with appeal for families and tourists. The proposed
site is on the new headland next to the iconic Blackpool Tower and will have
the capacity for outdoor festivals for up to 20,000 people.
Learning and research partnerships
Education initiatives solidify the V&A's strong relationships with regional
museums. The V&A-led Government-funded 'Design for Life' project focuses
on using museum
collections to engage young people in creative design.
During the pilot phase (2008-9) partner museums worked with young
people to research and test design-based learning programmes. Museums
Sheffield, for example, used their celebrated flatware collection to inspire
enthusiasm for design. The results of the 'Design for Life' pilot projects were
exhibited at the V&A (26 April-8 June 2010), accompanied by a conference.
The V&A regularly takes part in national and international exchanges.
For example, the Nehru Trust funds annual exchanges between British
and Indian scholars, coordinated by the V&A. This year's recipients included
Dr B K Sahay from the National Museum of India and V&A curator Helen
Persson. This productive exchange allowed specialists from the two
institutions to examine and research collections that have a common origin.
Indian Life and Landscape by Western Artists:
Paintings and Drawings from the V&A 1790-1927
Supported by the World Collections Programme, this show of 93 Western
works depicting the architecture, landscape and people of India was the
first V&A exhibition to tour India. The tour (8 December 2008-23
May 2010) has developed promising relationships with the six venues which included
the National Gallery of Modern Art, Delhi, and Salar Jung Museum,
Hyderabad. As part of the project, V&A curators, conservators, co-ordinators,
technicians and an educator spent over 20 weeks in India sharing expertise
with local staff. Over 550,000 visitors flocked to see the show.
The Jameel Prize 2009
The Jameel Prize is a new biennial international art prize for contemporary
work inspired by Islamic traditions of craft and design. Launched by the
V&A, the Prize is supported by Mohammed Abdul Latif Jameel and draws
on the successes of the V&A's Jameel Gallery of Islamic Art. The first prize
was awarded to Iranian-born New York artist Afruz Amighi on 7 July 2009.
Twenty-four works from Amighi and the other eight short-listed artists
and designers were shown at the V&A (8 July-13 September 2009) before
touring the Middle East, supported by Abdul Latif Jameel Community
Services Programs. The tour began at the National Museum, Riyadh
(23-30 January 2010). It is the first time the V&A has worked in Saudi Arabia.